Posts Tagged ‘ Groundswell ’

7 Rules of Groundswell

Groundswell is person-to-person activity. These are real people with lives of their own. You must be ready to connect with people and build relationships with them. Having empathy for people and the situations they face will help you learn about them. So make friends with people and get involved.

You must be a good listener. Social media is not typical marketing. No longer are we just talking to people. We must also listen to them, and more importantly learn from them. Doing so will unlock ideas you might never have thought of.

It takes patients. You can’t be expected that tomorrow you will be fully immersed in social media. It takes time to build relationships, communities, blogs, and trust. Taking the first step and getting involved is a move in the right direction.

Be opportunistic. When a great social media opportunity comes your way, be sure to take it. Being the first one to create a unique social media campaign will set you apart from competitors. You might only get one chance.

Be Flexible. Social media is ever changing and understanding that you never quite know it all will prove useful. You never know when or how someone might attack your company. So having a flexible social media strategy is essential.

Collaborate with others. Work with others to create the best possible social media presence. There are many people in your company that will have different talents and ideas. Having many people support your social media efforts will make for a better experience for your customers.

Be humble. Your company will never be as powerful as people connecting together on social media are. Remember this, as your trying to become a part of groundswell. Being humble will go a long way.

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The Future of Groundswell

Where groundswell is heading

Groundswell is growing more than ever, faster than ever. More companies, more people, and mass participation is creating an entirely different world. It is constantly being imbedded into our every day lives with cell phones, computers, cars, and everything else. What allows it to become so successful is it allows people to connect to things they care about. They don’t have to waste time going to things they don’t need, instead, they can be updated by things that are important to them through feeds. This is true value to the customer.

What companies must understand

Groundswell will be a company’s survival; there will be no quick sell on groundswell. If your company is even doing the slightest thing shady, people will know. If you’re selling a printer that has cheaper ink cartridges, but prints less pages per cartridge, people will know. Any type of strategy based on deception will simply not work. Any company that does not engage with groundswell will look outdated and out of touch with their customers.

Customers are the true decision makers

The information social media can provide a business is invaluable. The instantaneous feedback can be used to make crucial decisions. Products will continue to evolve quicker as feedback is received quicker and companies can make better decisions to suit customer needs. Relationships with customers will improve so much that companies will be able to make mistakes, learn from them, and not just survive, but thrive.

Engaging Social Media

Blogs are an easy and effective way to create a social presence. They are simple to setup and engage with people on a personal level. Being transparent within blogs is crucially important. Being transparent in blogs and making sure people know who you are, will make for the best impression. If however, you are not transparent, people will find out and negative publicity will occur. If you’re a spokesperson for a company, let people know, let them know your opinion is slightly bias, it is the proper way of doing things on social media.

Twitter has become a great way of micro-blogging and has become a popular social media platform. It is limited to 140 characters per a post making them direct and to the point. Twitter has become a choice of businesses because of its live feed, allowing problems to be solved individually and quickly. This keeps small problems from becoming a more permanent type of social media. It also allows for companies to listen to what people are saying about their company in real time. The important thing to remember about Twitter is to engage your followers. The quickest way to get your followers to 0 is spamming them with brand messages.

There are many media forms at which you can talk about your product or service to your audience. Social media is not a media form where you want to only focus on talking to your audiance. Engagement is what makes a social media campaign successful. Speaking with your audience and being a part of a bigger conversation should be the goal of social media. Having people demonstrate themselves the benefits of you product or service should be encouraged as it builds credibility. This is especially useful when a potential customer is researching your product or service and finds positive feedback about it.

Why Recommendations Are So Important

One of the best things a company could ask for is having their customers recommend their product or service. Getting recommendations, good ratings, and good reviews from customers is much better than any marketing message a company could give. The messages customers provide are authentic and trust worthy. People are smart when they buy products nowadays. Most people have smart phones and within 30 seconds of searching they can find a review for the product they are looking at right in front of them. This makes it so important for companies to realize how important positive or negative comments, reviews, and ratings can be. For a more expensive purchase a consumer could take weeks analyzing an array of products carefully selecting the correct one. This is why it is so incredibly important for a company’s customers to be giving recommendations to other people. Groundswell is having an impact on companies that try to earn a short-term gain. Providing less than superior products or customer service will quickly put a company out of business.

I was recently going to buy a Fluval Chi, a small five-gallon aquarium. It looked great and I was very tempted to buy it in the store right then and there. However, I resisted, waited, and when I got home did a quick search on Google for reviews on this product. Well, what I found is many reviews and the results were not looking good for the Chi. I quickly found out the filter is not adequate and the water will quickly become cloudy in the aquarium. I can only hope that Fluval is listening to groundswell and follows up with an improved product.

How Companies Can Make Groundswell Work For Them

There are many ways of talking to groundswell. Corporations must choose the best ways to effectively communicate their intended message to their customers. There are four key ways companies can talk with groundswell and their customers. This is through viral videos, social networks, blogs, and communities. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. What is important is that it gives value to the company and the customer.

Viral videos are a great way to promote awareness, Blendtec has done this and so can many other companies. The fantastic part about viral videos is they are low cost and high visibility. They don’t usually cost much to make, yet they can reach an audience quite easily.

When I went to Mexico last year, I found it very hard after arriving to figure out where to go. The airport was very distracting with many different people trying to tell me where to go. I think in their vacation destinations they should have “how to” or “what to do” when you arrive videos. This would give WestJet credibility and it would serve their customers better. WestJet could also watermark all the videos so the people knew who made the video.

I think there is great potential for WestJet to do this with their vacation destinations. Some benefits of YouTube to WestJet could be customer reviews of the WestJet flight or vacation packages from people who used their airline. This would be beneficial as other travellers could hear about the experience of traveling with WestJet directly from the customer. Social media marketing has shown us that customers are more likely to believe other customers when reviews are posted. This could also give WestJet an avenue to find out where they are going wrong and what they can improve on. They could also use it for hotel reviews, or “a typical day at _____”. I believe this would also be very useful for not just WestJet customer, but also all travellers. The beauty of this would be WestJet would get much credit for doing this and taking the initiative.

Communities are everywhere online. I am part of the online community PreludePower. This community specifically focuses on preludes and was very helpful in dealing with common problems in my 1991 Prelude when I had it. The community was set for enthusiasts to share their experiences, problems, and solutions. This is similar to what GM has done with their Fastlane blog. Communities that are company driven must give value to the users of them. Simply creating a community for a product will not guarantee success. If a community is setup for talking with groundswell, it must have long-term sustainability built into the plan. Building up a community will only hurt accountability and reputation.

POST Process Simplified

Before one can successfully implement groundswell, they must go through a process of deciding how they will use it and on what platform. This is very important because some people might be using different forms of social media to voice their opinion. If a company or person tries to connect with someone using Facebook when most of their customers are blogging, it won’t be effective. There also must be a key set of steps before one decides to take on social media. A simplified process is the POST method, for people, objectives, strategy, and technology. This method will help build a concrete plan for social media decision-making.

People  – Before it is decided what groundswell tool a company will use, a business must first know whom they are targeting. They must understand their customer’s technographic profile. This is a crucial step as it will help a business better understand how their customers will engage in the conversation and through what medians.

Objectives – When we talk about objectives in the POST process we are mainly concerned with a company’s social media goals. Social media can be used for a variety of things, whether that is empowering your customers, listening, sales, embracing, support, or research. However, it is important that a business has an objective before jumping into groundswell.

Strategy – The strategy is closely tied with objectives. How the relationship will change with customers using groundswell is an important part of strategy. Do we want our customers carrying messages and writing reviews about our products? Do we want customers to become more engaged in our company? Are we trying to build a customer-to-customer support system with our products? Are we trying to develop new products and use groundswell as a development tool? These are all questions that strategy must answer to make the most of the social media used.

Technology – Once people, objectives, and strategy have been determined in the POST process the platform for social media can be selected. Using the correct type of social media is very important, as it is how people will interact or not interact with your company. This is selecting whether to use blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, forums or any other type of social media to get people involved in your company.

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